Guardians Avoid Sweep With 15-Hit Attack, Defeat Rays 9-2

Tanner Bibee Seventh Consecutive Win Decision
AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)
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AP Photo/Kevin M. Cox)

St. Petersburg, FL – The Cleveland Guardians offense banged out 15-hit in avoiding a sweep at the hands of the Tampa Bay Rays defeating them 9-2.

Cleveland’s offense has not been their calling card this season but they scored 24 runs in the three games over the weekend. Cleveland improves to 27-13 in games where the offense has 10 or more hits.

“They definitely were in attack mode,” Rays Manager Kevin Cash said. “You can do your homework on Zach [Eflin] and you know he’s going to be around the zone a lot, and the Guardians were prepared for that. Put some good swings on some balls. I don’t think Zach had the sharpest finish to some of his pitches today and it just kind of added up and snowballed and they put a bunch of runs on us quick.”

Tanner Bibee (9-2, 2.90 ERA) picks up the win for the Guardians who improve to 57-62 on the season. The seven run defeat ends a streak of seven consecutive games (including postseason) of one run games between the two teams. It was Bibee’s seventh consecutive winning decisions. He’s the first rookie Cleveland starter to record seven consecutive wining decisions since Gene Bearden in 1948. His 2.90 ERA is the lowest by a Cleveland pitcher through his first career 19 starts since Dennis Eckersley in 1975 (2.67).

Zach Eflin (12-6, 3.67 ERA) takes the loss for Tampa Bay as they fall to 71-49. Tampa Bay wraps up their 6-game homestand with a 4-2 mark. The loss was the biggest at the hands of Cleveland since dropping a 8-1 game at Progressive Field July 1, 2015.

Eflin, who is often plagued by back/knee issues, was disappointed by his outing but reported that he felt fine. “Felt great, felt fine.” He said. “Was ready to compete, really a lot of foul balls. There in the first inning I was really getting worked on by [Steven] Kwan in the first at-bat. A lot of it was they were fighting stuff off and anything they put in play just found a hole.”

Overall, three innings and 82-pitches is a frustrating outing. “Kind of just one of those days. Funny how this game is.” Eflin remarked. “Last time I didn’t feel great and I pitched well. This outing I feel great and I don’t pitch well, but that’s the game that we play. Sucks that we didn’t lose the last game but we won the series and are in good spirits as we head to San Francisco.”

Zach Eflin lasted just 3 innings allowing six runs all earned on nine hits while striking out three and walking one. The three innings equaled his shortest outing of the season (also July 16 on the road against the Kansas City Royals).

Pitching coach Kyle Snyder was ejected by home plate umpire Adrian Johnson after Snyder and Johnson exchanged words during a mound visit in the second inning.

Osleivis Basabe made his debut and delivered a double in his first plate appearance in the bottom of the third inning. He scored his first big league run on Yandy Diaz‘s double. He finished the game 1-for-3. After the game Basabe said the feeling was incredible. He also was thrilled to have his wife and 3-month old in attendance.

He dedicated the game to his grandmother who has passed away and will send the baseball from his first big-league hit to his grandfather. “In the first inning I was pretty nervous.” Basabe admitted. “God told me this was normal, so from that point on I felt better.”

Jake Diekman followed Eflin to the mound but wasn’t able to slow Cleveland’s bats down. He worked 1.2-innings and allowed five hits and three earned runs. Kevin Kelly worked 1.1-innings scoreless and turned the ball over to Colin Poche to work the 7th.

Poche, Robert Stephenson, and Jason Adam each worked a scoreless inning.

Tanner Bibbee was outstanding for the Guardians working seven innings while holding the Rays to two earned runs on seven hits, striking out five and walking none. Sam Hentges and Michael Kelly held the Rays scoreless over the final two frames.

Tyler Glasnow is expected to start tomorrow in San Francisco but may be slightly restricted since he hasn’t pitched since July 31st in New York against the Yankees. The Rays more than likely would be calling up one pitcher, but there may be the necessity of two.

Jalen Beeks, Cooper Criswell, and Josh Fleming are all ineligible to return as they haven’t spent the requisite 15-days in the minors after being optioned.

Options on the 40-man roster include Calvin Faucher, Cole Sulser, Trevor Kelley, Taj Bradley, and Colby White.

Bradley pitched for the Durham Bulls on Thursday night and would be on short rest. Colby White is still building up from last year’s Tommy John surgery.

Andrew Kittredge is nearing the end of his Tommy John rehab and should be near ready for activation and provides another option for the Rays.

Curtis Mead registered his first at Tropicana Field, a single in the 7th inning.

Roster Move:

Prior to Sunday afternoon’s game, the Rays recalled infielder Osleivis Basabe from the Triple-A Durham Bulls. Josh Fleming was optioned to the Bulls to make room on the roster. Basabe, 22, was acquired as part of the Nathaniel Lowe deal with the Texas Rangers and will be making his major league debut. With the Durham Bulls this year he’s appeared in 94 games slashing .296/.351/.426 spanning 426 plate appearances. He’s struck out 66 times and walked 31 times.

Up Next:

The Tampa Bay Rays head out to San Francisco to take on the Giants in a 3-game series starting Monday night at 9:45 EST. Tyler Glasnow (5-3, 315 ERA) is expected to make his return (back). San Francisco has yet to announce their starter.